Buddy was a good dog. I guess that’s the ultimate compliment for a dog. However cruel it may sound, I’d been praying for him to die for a while. Almost every night when I would go to bed, I’d pet him on the head and ask God to please not let him wake up. I begged God to not make me have to put him down. But things went from bad to worse over the past few weeks and watching him live made me cry more than thinking of him dead.
He was the most beautiful, flaming red, tail-less corgi I’ve ever seen and I’ve looked at quite a few. He was also part of our family. You see, since Jon and I have been a family, Buddy has been part of it. He was our engagement present to each other. Losing him is more than just losing a dear old friend. Losing him is losing an era in our lives. Losing him is acknowledging the years, events, and loss in our lives because he was there for it all.
He was waiting for us to take him on a walk when we returned from our honeymoon to our first apartment. He was a favorite with the youth when we moved to Oklahoma to be pastors. He was jealous when we brought our firstborn home. He was anxious when I was in the hospital for so long with my gallbladder out. When my cousin lived with us for a while, Buddy literally ran the pads on his paws off pulling that kid on roller blades. The best time in his life is when we moved to Hansen Farm and he could herd goats all day. He was barking at the door when Charis entered the world there. He helped us grow our children and I believe he mourned with us when we had to move to Dallas and live in an apartment. He was so patient with us. But he rejoiced when we bought our first home with his own backyard. He was midwife, with Jon, to Caedons birth when he came too fast for the midwife to get there. By the time we lost that house due to job loss, it wasn’t so hard for him in the travel trailer we lived in. As a matter of fact I think he enjoyed the consistent walks and traveling the country with us. I’ll never forget the fun he had in the New York snow or chasing love bugs in Alabama. I could tell when we moved to Oklahoma again that he was getting old. It was hard for him to get up and down the stairs. When we finally got here, to our little farm in the country, he really started to show his age, but he loved it. I could tell.
I can’t tell you how many times he barked when we laughed with friends and family. How he ran with the kids all over the yard. I couldn’t guess the gallons of tears that red coat absorbed. The comfort he gave when loved ones passed or other loss. Births, birthdays, moves, funerals, parties, home church, poker, he was there for it all.
God didn’t answer my prayer. Sometimes that just happens. We asked the vet to come out after I read something. “Can your pet do the things he loved to do?” Buddy was not a cuddly dog, he was our watchman. He loved to bark and ward off all evil. He loved to fight. He loved to run. He lived to mark his territory. He was my shadow, always the protector. He did none of that anymore. He didn’t go down without a fight though. I’m sure in his mind he just needed to make sure we were ok.
After he was gone I brushed him. He hadn’t let us do that in months because it hurt. I thought about that fiery red coat that was now a dull orange. He looked better though. I wrapped him in a Noah’s Ark blanket that had been all of our childrens’ when they were babies. He was our baby too. We buried him right out front under a tree. Eythan helped dig the grave with me and Jon.
As we stood there on the farm on this beautiful spring day I told him I was sorry. I was sorry that we had not got him here sooner. He loved this place. I was sorry we had not been better masters and I was sorry that I had to be the one to take his life, although mercifully. I told him he was a good dog. He was a really good dog.